We had to be in Calgary for a church workers conference over Halloween. I know. I know. Who schedules a conference over Halloween!!? Lutherans who love the Reformation, that’s who! hehehehe…. The family came too to visit Auntie Hailey. We threw their costumes in as well. Parrot. Skunk. Lamb. And instead of trucking around Calgary’s mean streets, we went on over to the Market Mall. Boo ya! Walking from store to store, nabbing the mad treats and it was warm! And dry! It felt . . . like cheating! I remember being in a parka under my costumes forever as a kid. But this was pretty darn choice. I posted a few images here but there’s a whole set on flickr you can check out. It was the best Mall-o-ween ever!
So there were photographers and artists and musicians! Put them all together, invite the community to come and you get one word: Fun! Maybe two words: Super Fun! That’s how I would describe last night’s event. It was standing room only for most of the night which was such an incredible feeling. We never did get a head count of how many people came but it was well over 200. Access Television was also there, documenting the event. The Safe-tee management building made for a very intimate gathering space which was really neat. It made the event far more cozy and close than if it had been in a big gymnasium or a hall. It was along the lines of a Newfoundland Kitchen Party (presumably. I’ve never been. Yet.) There was some incredibly beautiful artwork on display and for sale. There were large sculptures and paintings filled with vivid colour. And of course, the music which drew everyone like a moth to a flame. Shirley and Jim Galloway along with David Hyman rocked the set on violin, guitar and piano. I could have sat there the whole day listening to them, they were fantastic! I did lend some of my vocals to an awesome rendition of “Black Water” by the Doobie Brothers though. All in all it was a fabulous event. It’s so nice to be part of a community that honours the arts and wants to do more than only sports. All the free will proceeds went to the OPHS band program to further help and encourage the development of art in the tender young minds of our youths. Boo ya!
So we went up to the grand metropolis of Moosomin, SK last night to take in the Fireworks Competition. This year’s combatants were CanFire Pyrotechnics vs. Canadian Pro Importers & Distributors Ltd. We missed the show on Saturday night, so we don’t have anything to compare Sunday’s offering with. It was still super fun! Everyone always loves fireworks, especially when they are choreographed to music. Our experience involved screaming and/or puking children so it was doubly rich! But once we got over that, it turned out to be a nice night. Put the fuji x100s to work. I am always blown away by that little camera. It is so, so ideal as a walk around, do anything, take anywhere camera.
I played a bit with the fun Q menu and tweaked the contrast of some of these images to give them that crazy “over blackened art look”. But the skin tones in the color images are unbelievable. If I was lost on a desert island and I could only have one camera, it would be the x100s!
Well it’s been a bit of a gong show as of late. This past week was our Annual University pals campin’ trip. It was also the week when my Sacroiliac ligament decided to tell me to get bent. So, as my lovely wife boldly went camping as a single mom with our 3 hooligan children, I camped out on my mom and dad’s couch in Moose Jaw. It was brutally awful pain that left me debilitated and lying flat on a couch. I’ve never watched so many movies! But a couple of Chiropractor treatments and a massage later, I’m about 34% better. Needless to say, I didn’t do as much photo taking as I would have liked!
As the week went on, I was able to be a bit more mobil. I walked around mom’s garden and nabbed some flower shots with the X100s. The macro mode is pretty sweet. As mom and dad’s street was ripped up for construction, there was a bunch of heavy equipment lying around. My brother, who permanently looks like a heavy equipment operator was over so I conned him into doing a shot. Dad’s Canon 580 EX II flash through a mini beauty dish as key and my SB-900 on a small stand in an umbrella for fill triggered optically in SU-4 mode.
Then, after my final chiropractor treatment, I joined the campin’ throng in Grenfell for a couple of days. I blasted of some B&W candids of the kids and of course, our annual group photo.
And, I was able to nab a few shots of my buddy Craig who fortunately is ready for the next Zombie Apocalypse at all times. heheheheh… All in all it was a very nice “vacation” for me. It was great to see everyone even if it was only for a short time. I’m hoping to be back in the saddle soon and recover from my injuries. Lot’s of rest and more lying around. Woe to me.
OK, I’ve lived in the South East corner of Saskatchewan for over 5 years, almost 6, and I only just the other day heard of The Happy Nun. Where have I been!?!? It is the most incredible restaurant I have ever been to in my entire life! From the first step I made through the door, I instantly fell in love. There is such an overwhelming ambience of joy and a glorious welcoming spirit that permeates the whole establishment. It’s in the decor, the staff, the art work, the ambience. It truly is something special. Everyone knows that a good restaurant is hard to find, but so is a great place for entertainment. When the two come together with perfect perichoresis it’s sensational.And that describes the Happy Nun to a tee for it’s not only a restaurant, but it is also a mini centre of performing arts! We had got tickets to see Craig Cardiff live in concert at the Happy Nun. He was tremendous as well, adding to the over arching good times of the night. As the music filled the place, the ambient light levels became saturated with warm, beautiful colour.
And then, dear friends, there’s the food. I’m really not exaggerating when I say that it is the best restaurant food I’ve ever had. It’s all homemade. No propeller pigeon chicken. No industrially baked bread. No typical ‘big business’ restaurant food. I had the beef with mashed potatoes and asparagus. My wife had the orzo and Israeli couscous. Both dishes had incredible flavour and that unmistakable “made by hand with love” feel. There was also a starter salad that was bursting with flavour, not to mention a mushroom zucchini soup that was to die for. And when the soup came out, it was noticeably contained in a hand made pottery bowl. Every last detail has been thought out, including the numerous examples of nun-based decor. And who doesn’t love nuns?! Remember Sister Act?
And, the final book end of the night was driving home, only to look up and see the most incredible display of Northern Lights. The whole sky was illuminated by the dancing green and blue Aurora. Could there be a more perfect end to a great night with great friends, awesome entertainment and the best dining experience you can have in south east Saskatchewan? I think not. And, I will certainly be back!
On Thursday, May 9th we celebrated the Good Lord Jesus’ Ascension back to heaven. And to do so, we had a concert with a couple of Angel voices! Jennifer Jade Kerr and Kelti Malone blessed our congregation in Oxbow with a sweet concert. They are AMAZINGLY talented singer songwriter types. I highly recommend you check ‘em out and buy all their records. As if that wasn’t good enough, we sweetened the whole deal and had an ice cream buffet afterwards. We had a really great turn out with lots of community members attending.
The the girls were kind enough to indulge my photo addiction and do some portraits with the D800. Musicians deserve moody lighting, at least, I think they do. I wanted to try some anyways so here’s what I came up with.
For Jennifer, I envisioned her glorious red hair and decided that warm tones would be the ticket. I wanted to go with short lighting too for the utmost of flattery. Then I had the idea to put some candles in the bokeh to further play off the red/warm feel of the overall image. I also wanted a bit of guitar in the image, but not to let it dominate the scene. I was pleased because it turned out how I envisioned it.
Kelti has a way cool violin! I knew that I wanted to do some edgy stuff with it. So we did a pretty dramatic portrait of Kelti with some way cool profile lighting. And then, we decided to just shoot the violin – because it’s so darn cool!
Here’s some shots from the concert all taken with the FujiFilm X100s.
Back in April we had the big Dance Recital. It was great because my daughter was in it. And by that, I mean, I loved it even more because my daughter was in it. Miss Halynne did a totally rock star job with the kids, especially the littlest ones. It was neat to see all the different levels of experience. I know my daughter benefitted from seeing the older girls doing their hip hop moves as an encouragement to see what happens later in life with practice. I did the group photos the day before at the dress rehearsal and also did a quick session setup for anyone who wanted formals done. It was fast paced maniacal gong show! But it was loads o’ fun and everybody looked super cute.
Finally got a chance to use the X100s in a real world scenario. My good friend Susan from Susan Hill Photography had a wedding gig lined up and I asked if I could tag along as second shooter to really try out the Fuji. She graciously obliged. Not only was I using the X100s, I also got to try it out with my new pocket wizard plus x triggers. I’m happy to report that everything worked amazingly well. I confess though, that I’m naturally a telephoto-eyed shooter. So, I couldn’t leave my D800 at home. I had it with my 85mm f/1.8 on a black rapid strap as well as the Fuji. It truly was a dynamic duo as you get a pretty nice 35mm equivalent FOV from the Fuji and decent telephoto from the 85mm. And, the Fuji is so nice as a second camera because it is super lightweight. You can carry it around all day and not get played out. So all in all, it was a sweet mix. I just swapped the pocket wizard trigger back and forth from camera to camera as I needed to. I was using a simple one speedlight rig in a Photoflex octodome NXT XS on an ultralight LumoPro stand. It was a perfect on the move, versatile lighting setup.
I really wanted to push the Fuji on this gig. So I tried to use it as much as possible and it didn’t disappoint. Despite being a wide-ish angle lens, you can really get some nice subject isolation with it. The colour and skin tones are amazing. I shot everything in RAW and JPEG but the images on this blog entry are all JPEG – they are simply that good. And, they tweak very nicely in post.
Some stuff though is just made for telephoto and I did find myself swapping in the D800. I still believe that people look best shot with telephoto focal lengths. But the variety of having both cameras and not having to change lenses (hence lugging around WAY less kit) is pure awesome.
This wedding session was all formals with some candids with the big family at the end. We setup in the Carnduff golf course because after all, it’s May and there is still snow lying around… shudder. But, we did our best. So we found this little tranquil spot and knew we could do something with it. When I got home and looked at the file, it struck me. This image looks fake! It looks like my 1985 kindergarten portrait studio backdrop! I think it’s attributed to the being able to nuke the sun with the deadly combo of the Fuji’s built in 3 stop ND filter and higher sync speed. This one was f/2.8 at 1/500 via Pocket Wizards. Sweet sassy! I’m gonna like that capability more and more me thinks.
The other killer thing with a small, lightweight camera is that you can hand hold slow shutter speed shots no problem. There were a metric tonne of kidlets around for the big family photo and I thought, lets get them buzzing around the bride. With the ND filter still on, I cranked the aperture up to f/11 and dialled the shutter down to 1/30s. The bride is sharp handheld, the kids are pleasantly blurred. My only regret is not popping a wee bit o’ flash on the bride. It would have made for a stellar image. But one gets caught up in the moment.
All in all, it was a super fun 2 hours on duty with the Fuji. I love that it’s small, lightweight and ready for anything – like when all the kids in the family decide to start rolling down a goose crap encrusted golf course hill. It’s just there and ready to rock!
Yesterday was the LWMLC “Spring” Renewal at our church. I say “spring” because it’s still cesspool of winter on the prairies and we had another snow storm whilst this thing was going on. The weather is diabolical. But anyways, it was a lovely renewal. The LWMLC stands for Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Canada. It’s a society that Lutheran women have been active in for quite some time and they have renewals or get togethers that include a bible study, some singing, lunch and a speaker on a topic. We were blessed to have Shelley Baldwin come and talk to the ladies about a local project she is doing called 25 Little Dresses. Shelley has had difficulties with her health and the dress project began as a way to reach out to others despite having her own cross to bear. She started out to see if she could make 25 little dresses for needy children in the developing world. And since the first one was made, over 3000 have been made with many more ladies joining in! It’s an incredible project that is helping little girls all over the globe have clothes to wear. And, the dresses are almost always delivered by hand to people who need them so they don’t get intercepted by pirates and sold on the black market. The dresses get to the girls who need them. This project fit in nicely with the overall them of the Renewal ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.’” Matthew 25:40. Everyone in attendance had a great time and each got a hands on experience making dresses be it sewing, cutting, or ironing. It’s amazing to see what can be done and how the world can be changed for the good with these simple acts of love and kindness.
Since Canada has been undergoing it’s wide scale urbanization over the past several decades, people have gotten further away from the land. By that I mean, it is widely held that food comes from a grocery store, packaged in plastic. It’s clear that there is a veil of cellophane over many peoples’ eyes about the truth. Our food doesn’t come from a grocery store. It is produced on the land, be it meat, grains, dairy or vegetables. There are still a select few who live closer to the land than many of our urbanized counterparts. I include myself in the former group. I admire many of the elderly people I know (I’m talking 90+) who lived growing up on the farm. Having chicken for supper meant walking down to the chicken coop, axe in hand. A far cry from today’s styrofoam container experience!
I decided to put together this little photo-essay documentary about the “organic” experience that hunters still have with the land, the animals they hunt and/or farm, and the end result of that labour: food for the table. More specifically, smoked sausage made from deer, moose, elk and pork.
The images are real life – they contain scenes of life, death and blood. Be advised. But, in living and operating this way, we know exactly where our food comes from, and what’s in it. Our people have been living this way for generations. “100 mile challenges” weren’t pithy movements, they were everyday life! And, thankfully for some of us, they still are.
All the shots here were taken on either a cellphone camera, iPod camera or Nikon V1.
Eve of Destruction 2! This time, it’s not Eve of Destruction 1! The event is pure awesome! Last year it was a combine smash up derby, this year, a truck and trailer figure 8 crash up! hehhhehe… But not only is there the main event, there is also lots of other amazing performances from exploding cars to MX stunt dudes to car flips to truck pulls. But I wasn’t there for any of it. My job was to take some pictures of the Lord of the Speedway, Byron Fichter. He’s an Estevan area photographer who specializes in landscapes and motor sports. His work at the Estevan Motor Speedway is exceedingly well known and he knows his craft. Be sure to check out his images at his website ByronFichter.com. I had fun following Byron around and taking some shots of him in action.For a guy who is known for his work at the track, it’s nice to actually get some shots of him at the track. People were saying to him “Are you the guy from the track?” Now they will see the photos and know. It was lots of fun shooting Byron and being able to nab a few shots of the event. The MX bikes were 80 feet in the air when doing their stunts! Unreal! I’m glad I was on the ground with a camera.
Just got back from vacation so I’m playing lots of photo catch up! Got a couple of shoots to edit on top of 64 zillion gigabytes of family photos from the vacation. Vacation this year included taking in the Windscape Kite Festival in Swift Current which was a really cool experience! The name of the game was mainly snapshots and candids but there was so much going on there were no shortage of photos. I’ve never been to a kite festival before, but we had a great time watching the hardcore kite flyers from all over the world. There were massive kites, like the Bob the Builder one, to small little stunt kites that were agile and really fun to watch. Also, there were awesome wind dancers in their really amazing flowing dresses! Tons of stuff for the kids too. If you haven’t been to it, I’d highly recommend you check it out at least once.
The Estevan fair was really quite sensational. And I’m really not kidding! It was a boat load of fun!! It was doubly so for me because I got to take some family photos of the Mercers in a really incredible backdrop of colour and lights. After we had completed our photo shoot I wandered around a bit longer and waited for the light to fall a bit darker for some fun “lights at night” shots. Thankfully the thundershower held off and we were able to get our shots and not have to worry about the rain. All we had to worry about was the carnie’s grip on our wallets! hehehehheh….. (I have it on the highest authority that the fair is a bigger rip off than even the circus!)
Moir Dr. is a perpetual princess party! We’ve got more royals around here than Buckingham palace! Check out the shots of from Kennedy’s Birthday. They all came fresh from Salon Diosa, all gussied up and princessified.
We went for a little adventure today that was close to home. Newborns have a way of halting any and all progress in life. heheheeh… So we grabbed the GPS and went to do a little geocaching. If you’ve never heard of geocaching before, its a high tech treasure hunt using satellites and the internet to locate caches hidden by other people. It’s a super fun, low-cost family activity. We found five caches today and got to see some pretty cool places up in the Moose Mountains and around Kenosee lake. The majority of the caches we found were at old one-room schools. It was neat to drive into the middle of nowhere and bam, there’s a school were oodles of kids went years ago. They’ve become the haunts of birds and coyotes now (and nerds with GPS units). The last site was in a beautiful open field where we had a picnic and nabbed some photos of the kids. I had a flash with me so we put it to good use in the middle of some dandelions. All in all a super fun day!
EDIT: Here’s the video we made from the day!
Bob King is the King of Bobs. His majesty visited the humble town of Oxbow for a little concert on 05/05/2012. I like sandwiches, sandwiches are fine!
Yesterday was the big day! We baptized Pria out at the historic Trinity Lutheran Church by Willmar. It was truly a blessing to have all the family down for the event. Dad took some photos from before and during and after the service and I got Jimmy to use my camera to also nab a few shots hither and thither. All of our kids have been baptized in a gown that was made from Regan’s wedding dress. She had a wrap that draped over her arms (or whatever they do, I’m a boy). Point being, it’s a really cool thing for us to illustrate how our marriage has brought forth our family and how that union continues to be part of our families’ spiritual lives as well. The only other baptism I’ve done out at Trinity was for another little baby who was baptized in a 100 year old gown that had been handed down through the family through the ages! It’s a very historic place taking part in a very historic ritual of the Christian faith dating back 2000 years. Being that I’m the pastor as well as the papa, it has an extra special aspect to it. I personally get to be the one God uses to bring the gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation to my own children. It’s a very cool moment! :cool:
Oxbow’s Wood Tick Prevention Program is a huge success again this 2012! I for one am super encouraged to see those little vampires go up in smoke! Nobody likes wood ticks. Just kidding! (But it’s true). The fire department were having fun doing a controlled burn just south of town tonight. They’ve got it down to a science and it made for some really exciting photos, especially as the light started to fade. I followed the burn from the first plumes of smoke till all the light was gone. Our firemen are awesome! They do a great job honing their fire fighting skills. Oxbow Enniskillen Fire Dept. No. 5, I salute you! Keep up the great work!
What can I say? I am one proud Papa of 3. Baby Pria was airlifted into the world via c-section on April 3rd at 1:31PM. In the mad furor of an OR Theatre, the gift of life was placed in my arms . . . again. Birth is always tougher on men than it is on women. I’ll maintain this to my dying day. Probably etch it on my tombstone even. Watching the one you love suffer while you can do nothing is very draining/frustrating/scary. C-section, in this regard, is more intense but for a shorter period of time. You can’t have it all.
It’s a wild ride no matter what. You see this little pink bologna loaf and you instantly fall in love. It’s incredible. Truly the greatest and fullest of the human experience to look into the eyes of another person and seeing your own image (in this case, Regan’s image, thank the Lord!). We are truly thankful to God for a safe delivery and also to the AWESOME doctors, nurses and staff at the Moose Jaw Union Hospital. We have received incredible care and attention all the way through. My heartfelt thanks goes out to all of you, you do an outstanding job! And of course a big thank you to my beautiful wife Regan who is super strong and a real trooper through it all. And to Phoebe & Ethan for being outstanding older siblings. And to our families and friends who have supported us, visited us and prayed for us too. We luv ya mucho!
Pastor Kreutzweiser stopped by today for some prayers and a blessing. He quoted these words from Psalm 127:
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
(Psalm 127:3-5 ESV)
Here’s some photos. They’re straight out of camera other than the resize & watermark. No time to edit. I’ve got three kids to chase after now! And I couldn’t be happier!
Yesterday was the Freyburn Bull Sale up at Jason & Melissa’s. It was the first cattle sale/auction I have ever attended and it was very exciting. I took candid photos of the event which was a lot of fun as well. There was a pretty good turnout of people from far and near who took in the event. I wasn’t sure what to expect exactly, but it was a very social event. Business mixed with friends and family and loads of great hospitality. I hope everyone took some pie home with them! Who would have thought that hearing about how big a bull’s testicles are for a couple of hours could be so entertaining!?!
I was honoured to be the photographer at Oxbow’s Ice Show March 17th. The night was fabulous and everyone involved absolutely rocked the set! From the most experienced to the greenest around the skating gills all did amazing! I looked in jealousy at all the 4 year olds who already have far more skating talent than I will ever have! (seriously!) We kicked the night off with some individual portraits and group shots in the dressing room. Then, I covered the actual show itself. It was a riot! :D
We were treated to a trip down on the farm today. Hubert always puts on a great show for the kids and they had a riot looking at all the animals. He even snuck a rooster and 2 pigeons into the house!!! It was a blast! And the swing in the hay loft is super cool too. Even the grown ups had a good time!
Avast ye skallywags! Cap’n Ozzy No-Beard bids ye walk the plank! Yar! Nobody can beat pirate parlance. In fact, if you goto your Facebook account settings (top right hand corner of the Facebook page) you can select Pirate English as your default language setting. Then all your Facebook stuff becomes “Update your Plunderin’” and “Bottle O’ messages” heehheheeh……. Anyways, the EFC Pirate party was yesterday. What a riot! Everyone had a real grog fest! Never in my day had I seen such a crew of swashbucklers!
It’s been birthday mania around here for the last few days as our little girl broke the threshold and turned 4. I can’t believe it! Crazy stuff. Time literally flies like a crazy fool. For one of the birthday celebrations, we went on down to the holy city of Moose Jaw and had us a wee shindig. We took in the Western Development Museum as it was a great place to let the kids rip and tare without really damaging anything of bothering anyone. We had the whole place to ourselves which was great as Pa and I went to work with the cameras. I recently watched Scott Kelby’s Crush the Composition video via Kelby Training and it had some cool pointers about photo composition. It had the basic rule of 3rds stuff, leading lines, etc. But it also encouraged people to break the mould and do some creative stuff. Basically, in a nutshell, it’s move in, get close, take parts of the picture instead of the whole image. That’s it. There’s not much else revolutionary to share about it. The video was Mmkay. So so. The title was cool though and it stuck with me as I went around the WD Museum saying, “Reg, if you need me, I’ll just be over here, crushing the composition.” I don’t know if Dad crushed anything or not. He had the 16-35 2.8 on his Canon, whilst I employed my 50 f/1.4 for way cool depth of field. I loves my primes, but it can get repetitive compositionally because basically you’re locked into one mid-range focal length (read: boring). That’s why I don’t have a 24-70 and probably never will. Mid range focal lengths aren’t happening. They don’t stick out like wide angles or sweet telephoto shots. But they can be cool if you’re willing to crush the composition! CRUSH IT! Crush it good. Crush it like Kelby!